Guide for carrying liquor on domestic & international flights in India

The Whisky

Indian liquor laws are like a messy cocktail. Every State and Union Territory enforces their own excise laws when deciding liquor prices. Some States are even declared dry states, meaning sale and consumption of liquor is ‘completely’ banned. Then we have authorities like the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Indian Railways dictating policies for carrying liquor during travel. On top of that, we have the airline service providers who have their own sets of policies and guidelines to follow.

So, how do you carry along your favorite bottle of Whisky when travelling on a domestic flight? Let’s find out.

Amount of liquor allowed in hand baggage

Unfortunately, you are not allowed carry liquor in your hand baggage at all. For that matter, any liquid that exceeds 100ml is not allowed to be carried in hand baggage as per Indian flight laws. So, if you were planning to sneak in your beloved Imperial Blue or Blenders Pride for a ride, it’s a no go.

Amount of liquor allowed in check-in baggage

Well, we have some happy news for you here. Passengers can carry up to 5 liters of alcoholic beverages in their check-in luggage. But there are some conditions that need to be met before you fly away to your destination.

  • The liquor bottle has to be sealed and in its retail packaging (don’t worry if you threw away the carton, as long as the seal is not broken you can move to the next point)
  • The alcoholic beverage has to be packed appropriately to prevent damage or leakage during transit. Most airlines advisories ask for proper bubble wraps and plastic wraps.
  • The alcohol content of the beverage cannot be more than 70%. So, if you were trying to go aboard with a Bacardi 151 or a prized bottle of Devil Springs Vodka, you are out of luck.
  • In case the alcohol content is less than 24%, the limitation of 5 liters does not apply. Well, we guess you can shake a leg if you are flying with a 24-pack beer carton for some odd reason.

What about alcohol purchased abroad from Duty-free Shops?

Well, an alcoholic beverage is allowed as the part of carry-in baggage on international flights when purchased from a duty-free shop. However, there are two rules and one speculation to it.

  • A maximum 2 liters of liquor is allowed and that too should be carried in a transparent plastic bag (re-sealable type). A receipt of purchase should accompany the bag.
  • Liquor purchased outside of an Airport liquor shop is not allowed as carry-in baggage and needs to be checked-in.

Now to the speculation, a proposal is pending with the commerce ministry to lower the 2-liter limit to just one. So, perhaps you should increase the number of your yearly round trips if you are trying to stock up as much of your favorite bourbon or Scotch as you can.


The domestic flight liquor allowance limits are fairly liberal. If you are travelling short-term and your trusty Blenders Pride or Imperial Blue is priced higher by the destination State or UT, you can take them along in your checked-in baggage. However, the international limit seems a bit stringent already and any plans to lower it further would not be a good sign for whisky lovers.

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